Sunday, January 8, 2017

NCAA Gymnastics (Week 1): Myia Hambrick, Sarah Finnegan, LSU Win Over Georgia

LSU's Sarah Finnegan competes on beam. Photograph: YouTube

Georgia competed at LSU on Friday, 6 January.

LSU dominated the University of Georgia, scoring a total of 197.825 against Georgia’s 193.600. LSU’s winning score was their highest ever season opener score. Before yesterday, their highest first meet score was 197.200.

LSU was impressive from start to finish, winning also the all around title and all event titles.

On vault, freshman Kennedi Edney stuck a beautiful one-and-a-half twisting Yurchenko, which earned her a 9.950, the highest score of the meet. 

LSU's Kennedi Edney competes on vault.

Second on vault were all around first- and second-place finishers Myia Hambrick and Ashleigh Gnat, who both performed a full-twisting Yurchenko for a score of 9.925. Hambrick’s vault was particularly impressive: she was very light in the air and stuck the landing.

LSU's Myia Hambrick competes on vault.

Bars was dominated by 2012 Olympic alternate Sarah Finnegan, who scored a 9.900. Unfortunately no video is available. As for now, bars seems to be LSU’s weakest apparatus. They got only one score (Finnegan’s) over 9.9. The uneven bars witnessed the sophomore return of 2012 U.S. junior national champion Lexie Priessman, who scored 9.875, the second highest score of the meet (tied with other three gymnasts). Priessman lacks the natural swing on bars and her whole routine looked a bit rush, but it was nice to see her back and healthy. To be noticed is also the cute dance exchange between Priessman and her coach at the end of her routine!

LSU's Lexie Priessman competes on bars.

LSU particularly impressed on beam, with all six scores being 9.850 and above. Sarah Finnegan topped also the beam board with a nearly perfect routine, which earned her a 9.950. The highlight of her routine is always her impressive triple turn in tuck stand, a move we did not see at the Olympics neither. 

LSU's Sarah Finnegan competes on beam.

Also very impressive on beam for LSU were Sydney Ewing and Lauren Li. Ewing performed some intricate combinations and ended her routine with a stuck one-and-a-half twist that drove her teammates crazy.

LSU's Sydney Ewing competes on beam.

Li impressed with her gorgeous lines, perfect body position and pointed toes.

LSU's Lauren Li competes on beam.

Finally, on floor the protagonists were once again Myia Hambrick (9.900) and Ashleigh Gnat (9.950). Hambrick presented a very elegant performance, only marred by a slightly underrotated double layout at the beginning of the routine. 

LSU's Myia Hambrick competes on floor.

Gnat, on the contrary, won floor with a very energetic routine. This young woman seems to have springs under her heels. Her tumbles are super high and her splits seem as high in the air as Simone Biles’!

LSU's Ashleigh Gnat competes on floor.

Myia Hambrick won the all around title with a total score of 39.575.

Unfortunately, the NCAA debut of Great Britain’s Olympian Ruby Harrold was postponed. LSU really need her on the uneven bars roster!

Georgia finished more than four points behind LSU, leaving fans wondering about the sorts of the team this year. Despite not having their best meet, however, it seems too early to raise the red flag. Georgia do not lack talent or difficulty, they just lack precision – a balance check on beam, a missed handstands on bars, and a few steps on landing on all apparatuses are deducted harshly in NCAA gymnastics. Some more experience and confidence could be enough to raise Georgia's sorts. So do not count Georgia out as yet!

The best for Georgia was Sydney Snead, who was third in the all around and on bars. On the uneven bars, Snead was particularly impressive, with long lines, excellent handstands and a gorgeous double straight to finish. She scored 9.875.

Georgia's Sydney Snead competes on bars.


2011 world champion Sabrina Vega made her NCAA debut on floor for Georgia, scoring 9.775. Vega was a bit short on landing on her first tumbling pass, a full-in tuck, but the rest of the routine was very well performed and her dance matched the music perfectly and was very entertaining. She has changed a lot since the last time I have seen her competing, she looks much more mature and relaxed.

Georgia's Sabrina Vega competes on floor.

More NCAA recaps are coming. Check them out!

By Talitha Ilacqua


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NCAA Gymnastics (Week 1): Myia Hambrick, Sarah Finnegan, LSU Win Over Georgia Reviewed by Talitha Ilacqua on 6:51 AM Rating: 5 LSU's Sarah Finnegan competes on beam. Photograph: YouTube Georgia competed at LSU on Fri...

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